County OKs youth coun­sel­ing funds

Men­tor­ing will also be avail­able at St. Mary’s el­e­men­tary schools

The Enterprise - - News - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­ Twit­ter: @Jac­quiEn­tNews

Thanks to a hefty state grant and some county fund­ing, coun­sel­ing and men­tor­ing ser­vices will con­tinue to be funded for chil­dren un­der 18, as well as their fam­i­lies.

County com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved at their meet­ing last week to spend $436,718 of state-al­lo­cated funds from the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice for Chil­dren and $153 in lo­cal money to be given to the Lo­cal Man­age­ment Board of St. Mary’s County for pro­grams of­fered at St. Mary’s pub­lic schools, Tri-County Youth Ser- vices and Walden Sierra.

State guide­lines for the grant re­quire a hourly po­si­tion for a lo­cal care team co­or­di­na­tor, which is $35,000 of the pro­vided grant money.

Com­mis­sioner Mike He­witt (R) asked “how many kids are reached” through the pro­grams.

Kelsey Bush, Lo­cal Man­age­ment Board li­ai­son and youth co­or­di­na­tor for the county, said “roughly 500 … we looked across pro­grams” of­fered.

“Some pro­grams are [on] a drop-in ba­sis, where it might be a one­time touch” with no addi- tional con­tact with a per­son or fam­ily, he said.

Funds given to St. Mary’s pub­lic schools are to be used for men­tor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents at Lex­ing­ton Park, Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Carver, Park Hall and Green Holly el­e­men­tary schools.

Sum­mer and af­ter-school pro­grams at Green Holly and Park Hall are also to be funded.

Funds given to Tri-County Youth Ser­vices are to be used for the Fam­ily Ac­cess Cen­ter, where fam­i­lies can seek help for a va­ri­ety of is­sues, as well as pro­vid­ing coun­sel­ing for youth and their fam­i­lies.

Funds pro­vided to Walden Sierra are to be spent on drug re­cov­ery sup­port pro­grams.

Com­mis­sion­ers have been ac­cept­ing state money for pro­grams since 2010.

The Lo­cal Man­age­ment Board’s goal was to have more lo­cal con­trol in tai­lor­ing chil­dren and fam­ily ser­vices to the needs of the county, a county govern­ment memo states.

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